Oral Health and Heart Health
Oral health and heart health. Is there a connection?
There have been many studies done on this subject in the past, and there is some consensus that these two things (oral health and heart health) are linked. It’s been fairly common knowledge in the past that the health of your mouth is a good indication of what may be happening with your general well being, including heart health. A report simultaneously published in the Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology went over some links between the two fields. Here’s some of the points they brought up:
- After reviewing several published studies, they found that gum disease along IS a risk factor for coronary artery disease.
- After analyzing the very large National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, they found that gum disease is an important risk factor for diseases of the blood vessels and the arteries that supply the brain. This refers especially to strokes that involve reduction of blood or oxygen to the brain. The information from another study of more than 50,000 people showed that those individuals with fewer teeth, and that had more gum disease, had a higher risk of stroke.
- Still other research discovered a direct link between some clogged arteries and gum disease.
If you look at gum disease for what it is (a continuous infection) you start seeing that it’s not a subject to take too lightly. Infection involves swelling and fluid build-up to the areas affected. Inflammation is another common denominator for both kinds of diseases. People with moderate or severe gum disease experience a rise in a certain type of protein, and that protein is used to assess an individuals risk of a heart attack.
Quick link to perio.org.
A good way to be proactive regarding gum disease, and your future heart health (to some degree), is to make sure to visit your dentist regularly. If there is some level of gum disease, we can diagnose and begin treatment rapidly. The sooner we spot it the faster and more effectively we can handle the infection and return your oral health to the level it should be.
I wanted to list briefly some of the signs of gum disease:
- Bleeding gums. Bleeding gums occur because of the increase of fluid build-up due to infection. You may notice that your gums bleed when you floss, or brush, or even (in the more rare instances) they could bleed for seemingly very little reason at all.
- Redness and swelling. Also due to increased inflammation around infected areas, you may also see your gums turn a reddish color, and experience painful swelling.
- Bone loss. This is harder for you to notice yourself, but it does occur when there is infection in the gums. The bone around your teeth, under your gums, tries to avoid the infection and actually breaks itself down (a process known as resorption). Over time this will actually cause your teeth to loosen in your mouth, and where there is enough bone resorption, teeth will become loose enough to dislodge. Bone, once gone, cannot grow back, so this is definitely not a good thing to have happen.
- Halitosis (Bad Breath). Halitosis occurs when one has gum disease as well, caused by all the bacteria that are causing the infection. The byproducts of these bacteria are the main reason that this occurs.
These are pretty sure signs that you have some form of gum disease. We want to help make sure that it does not get to the later stages. Let us help you by coming into the Dupont Circle dental office regularly. It may help with your future heart health as well.
Stay healthy my friends.